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According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the number of Industrial Robots shipped into the European market went up by 7% in 2018; and, for the years 2019 to 2021, the IFR predicts an average annual growth rate of 10%. While at least in the short term a double digit growth has recently become more uncertain because of fears about a slowing down in the world economy, the overall trend for industrial robots stays positive.


robots, four million CNC controllers and 19 million servo motors worldwide. Shinichi Tanzawa, president & CEO of the FANUC Europe Corporation, commented: “In the first half of our current fiscal year our order volume in all Europe rose by a double digit percentage number and we expect the expansion to continue, although it might slow down a bit.” “In the past couple of years the Industrial Robot market in Europe has been growing at a

very high speed,” Tanzawa added. “It is only natural that we might now see a short term consolidation in some regions.” Among the most promising trends

throughout the European continent are collaborative robots (Cobots), with FANUC increasingly see more demand coming from small and mid-size companies, even those who have not been using robots in their production in the past.


Now in its 43rd year Subcon, the subcontract manufacturing supply chain show, will be returning to the NEC from 4-6 June. In a first for the show, Subcon 2019 will be

co-located with the Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Expo. Over three days, the events will showcase the complete manufacturing solution, covering design, prototyping and development,

contract and subcontract products and services through to machine tools, systems and equipment. The Engineer Expo is dedicated to the advanced

engineering that drives UK manufacturing and design, while the Advanced Manufacturing Show is the global platform for next-generation technologies, showcasing innovative solutions that enhance advanced manufacturing performance.


There is often a significant need for customised enclosures - standard products that have had secondary machining to open up cable entry points; cut holes for switches, lamps, sensors and gauges; engrave logos, operating instructions or safety information. Sometimes customised enclosures are one-offs, but more often there is a requirement for multiple units, and possibly an on-going serial demand. Recognising this, Spelsberg UK has invested in a centre of machining

excellence at its Telford HQ to meet these needs – and can provide first samples within 24 hours. The facility is built around four state of the art CNC machines, each with milling, drilling, countersinking, tapping and engraving capabilities. Each of the CNC machines feature interchangeable bed fixtures, which allows any two or more of them to be set up to run the same job. Complex customisation needs can be met, including non-round holes,

counter sinking, chamfering and thread cutting. Logos, diagrams, other graphics and vital safety instructions can also be milled permanently into the enclosures.

It’s a chilly start to the new year, not just in terms of the weather but also the UK manufacturing industry’s thoughts on what this year will hold. Brexit, and the implications it could have, is currently looming over all our heads, causing many companies to

wonder what will happen in the coming year. Some may be worrying about lack of orders and declining export levels, others wondering if the skills shortage will become an even greater problem, and some companies are already stockpiling components and products ‘just in case’. Other companies, however, are looking at the situation in a more positive way – thinking about the fresh opportunities that are out there, and the benefits if more UK companies start reshoring, ie. bringing manufacturing back to the UK from other countries. Whatever this year holds, Design Solutions will be here to provide

you with the latest information, products, technologies and solutions. So here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

Rachael Morling - Editor 


Researchers based at The University of Manchester have found a low cost method for producing graphene printed electronics, which significantly speeds up and reduces the cost of conductive graphene inks. Printed electronics offer a

breakthrough in the penetration of information technology into everyday life. The possibility of printing electronic circuits will further promote the spread of IoT applications. Current conductive inks

traditionally use metal nanoparticles for their high electrical conductivity, but these materials can be expensive or easily oxidized. The team, however, has found that a material called dihydrolevogucosenone (known as Cyrene) is non-toxic, environmentally-friendly and sustainable while providing higher concentrations and conductivity of graphene ink. Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov

said: “Graphene is swiftly moving from research to application domain. Development of production methods relevant to the end-user in terms of their flexibility, cost and compatibility with existing technologies are extremely important. This work will ensure that implementation of graphene into day-to-day products and technologies will be even faster”. Graphene has the potential to create next generation electronics including faster transistors, semiconductors, bendable phones and flexible wearable electronics. T: 0161 306 1401

Essentra Components has produced two new guides to assist in the selection and use of PCB hardware components. The ‘Circuit Board Hardware’ guide covers the use of spacers, component mounts, PCB supports, card guides, insulators and standoffs for applications such as consumer electronics, electrical cabinets, white goods and office machinery. The ‘Buyers Guide to Circuit Board

Hardware’ covers an introduction to spacers, standoffs, supports, card guides and LED hardware.

Fidus Power has signed a pan-European franchise agreement with Murata Power which will enable the distributor to supply Murata’s range of medium and high power DC/DC and AC/DC products. Larry Tracey, director Fidus Power,

said: “We are especially interested in bringing Murata’s new technology to our customers. Two recent examples of technology leadership products that have emerged from Murata Power are the very compact 1U D1U86P-W-220 AC/DC 2.2kW front end, and the PQC250 250W convection-cooled switching power supply, which is again space-saving.”

steute Schaltgerate has a new company name: steute Technologies. This marks its advancement from a manufacturer of switchgear to a provider of sensor networks and intelligent MMI solutions for complex applications in the industrial and medical fields.

Bonfiglioli, the manufacturer of gearboxes, gearmotors and drive systems, has launched an electromobility production line in Forlì, Italy. Covering an area of around 10,000

square meters, this is dedicated to the production of electrical axles for powertrain and wheel drives of different sizes. The company has built the new facility with an environmentally-friendly approach.


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